Ceteris Paribus Conditionals and Comparative Normalcy

Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (1):97-121 (2006)
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Our understanding of subjunctive conditionals has been greatly enhanced through the use of possible world semantics and, more precisely, by the idea that they involve variably strict quantification over possible worlds. I propose to extend this treatment to ceteris paribus conditionals – that is, conditionals that incorporate a ceteris paribus or ‘other things being equal’ clause. Although such conditionals are commonly invoked in scientific theorising, they traditionally arouse suspicion and apprehensiveness amongst philosophers. By treating ceteris paribus conditionals as a species of variably strict conditional I hope to shed new light upon their content and their logic.

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Martin Smith
University of Edinburgh


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